New PDF release: Seven Clues to the Origin of Life - A Scientific Detective

By A. G. Cairns-Smith

ISBN-10: 0521398282

ISBN-13: 9780521398282

This ebook addresses the query of the way existence could have arisen on the earth, within the spirit of an exciting detective tale. It is dependent upon the equipment of Sherlock Holmes, specifically his precept that one should still use the main paradoxical positive aspects of a case to crack it. This method of the basic organic difficulties isn't in basic terms light-hearted, yet a desirable scrutiny of a few very basic questions. 'I understand of no different ebook that succeeds in addition to this one in retaining the imperative query in concentration all through. it's a precis of the easiest evolutionary pondering as utilized to the origins of existence within which the $64000 concerns are addressed pertinently, economically and with a contented recourse to artistic analogies.' Nature '... a greatest tale - and a way more convincing one than the molecular biologists can provide in its place. Cairns-Smith has argued his case sooner than within the technical medical literature, right here he units it out in a fashion from which somebody - even these whose chemistry and biology stopped at 16 - can learn.' New Statesman

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Extra info for Seven Clues to the Origin of Life - A Scientific Detective Story

Example text

Either way the exposed single chains now attract primed nucleotide units in a complementary fashion. These units link together on each of the single chains turning them into new stretches of double chain. Unwinding and chain-making continues, and the final outcome is a pair of identical double chains in place of the original one. ) The forces that are responsible for choosing the new units, so that they match up, are secondary forces of the kind that we discussed briefly in the last chapter. While the covalent bonds that hold the units together through their connector pieces are formed (more or less) once and for all, the forces between the letter pieces - the 'plug-socket' pairing forces - are much less emphatic.

It is similar to the confidence we have in our everyday perceptions and rests on a similar base. We are pretty sure the chair is real. If need be we can become more and more sure that it is not a deception or a hallucination by taking in new data - preferably of diverse kinds. We look at the chair from a new angle, we lift it up, kick it, sit on it. As the new data continue to check out as 'chair-like', vestiges of doubt are soon removed. Scientific perceptions - concepts, insights - cannot literally be kicked to see if they are real; but we do something similar when we check out an idea.

The carpenter must first choose and carefully align the appropriate pieces of wood before the decisive act of pinning or glueing them together. What do the messages mean? To a first approximation the messages in E. coli mean proteins - two or three thousand different kinds of protein molecule, each a machine with a more or less particular function. The purpose of most of the messages in E. coli (and that goes for some of our central messages too) is the direct specification of this molecular machinery.

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Seven Clues to the Origin of Life - A Scientific Detective Story by A. G. Cairns-Smith


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